Dogma matters, but...


What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other. (Romans 14:8)

Okay, so I know the original translation of this passage doesn't tell us to eat prime rib and broccoli, but it is there to make a point. We are to stand by our commitments - our beliefs, values, and even our dogma - but we are not to look down on others because of theirs. If their dogma, beliefs, or values are not according to scripture - we are to hold them up in prayer, not argue with them. Way too many arguments have ensued in the past couple of years over things like which political party is the 'best' or 'right one', but in truth, there is but one ruler over all mankind and that is Christ Jesus. God turns the head of the king where he wills, not the other way around. We argue over which type of song to sing in church, all the while forgetting we could just do two 'kinds' of worship services - one more traditional and one more 'modern'. The silliness of arguing over some of the things we take issue with is just sheer folly - proving that mankind can get pretty wigged out over the stuff God doesn't really take issue with in the first place.

The important part of this passage is the final sentence. Jesus lived, died, and lives again - so HE can be our Master, setting us free from the petty stuff we get all wigged out about in this lifetime. What are some of the petty things you have chosen to wig out about just in the past week? Don't tell me there wasn't even one thing, because I bet that even if you didn't voice it, something someone did, said, put up on a billboard, or advertised on social media rubbed you the wrong way. God is the one we are answerable to - so when something or someone sets you on edge, take them or the subject of your 'rub' to Jesus. He will take care of it - but don't be surprised if he begins to work on your heart first! It isn't that he is trying to change your beliefs (he may be, but not always), but rather he is attempting to help you see the individuals he loved enough to die for. 

While accountability amongst our brethren (those who are serving Christ Jesus) is quite important, we are ultimately accountable to God above all others. He is the one to clarify our beliefs, align our dogma with his Word, and create solid values in place of wishy-washy character. Unfortunately, as hard as we may try, we cannot do this for one another. We can set good examples, but we cannot change a man's character. We can live out our beliefs, but we cannot fill the empty spirit of a man. These areas belong to God. We can spend lots of time and energy arguing our point with each other, or we can agree to take all matters to Christ, asking for his Spirit and the Word of God to help us in our relationships with one another. I choose the latter. How about you? Just askin....

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